Another Reason Thanksgiving Day Shopping Is a Bad Idea

The scene was mysterious and confusing. After the exodus from Egypt, and while still in the wilderness, the ancient Israelites found one of their own people gathering firewood on a Sabbath day. In accord with a commandment previously given, God commanded that the man be stoned to death (Numbers 15:32-36).

At first glance, one may think God to be a harsh despot, inflicting a cruel punishment for a seemingly minor infraction. Such a perspective, however, completely misses the full picture and the realization that a truth of huge significance was being communicated.

The Mosaic Law was indeed burdensome, but did you know that even with all of their moral and ceremonial requirements, ancient Israelites were commanded to take 52 weekly Sabbath days (Leviticus 23:3) each year, another 7 days of complete rest for other required holidays (Leviticus 23:4-44), an entire Sabbath year every 7 years (Leviticus 25:1-7) and a year of Jubilee every 50 years (Leviticus 25:8-22)? I’m appalled by such cruelty!

In yet another mysterious passage, when His 6-day work of creation was completed, God took the 7th day to rest (Genesis 2:1-3). If we know anything about the nature of God, we realize that He didn’t sit back and sip an ice tea because He was tired. Once again, the Creator of the Universe, the one who knows our every need, was sending us a very loud message.

Time or space will not permit the full development of this issue, but the bottom line is that ever since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, life on this earth has been exhausting. God rested on the 7th day because He was providing an answer for one of our deepest needs even before that need existed.

photo credit: jbhthescots via photopin cc
photo credit: jbhthescots via photopin cc

God commanded His people to rest because He understood well that true rest does not come naturally—or easily—for humans. We’re all so busy “spinning our plates” and “ordering our ducks”, somehow thinking that we cannot rest until we align our circumstances with our desires. But it’s all an illusion!

Under the New Covenant in Christ, days of rest are no longer a requirement, but that doesn’t mean they are any less necessary. This is why Thanksgiving Day shopping is a bad idea.

Thanksgiving is one of the few “pure” holidays that we have. We take time to share a meal with family or friends—or to help others in need—blocking out the frenetic cry of “Hurry! Buy more stuff!” in order to reflect on the many things for which we can be grateful.

Rest, at its very core, requires faith.  Without the confidence that God will meet our needs, it falls upon our own shoulders to work out every detail of our lives, to make everyone happy, and to fill our shopping carts. In the end, the result is death by anxious exhaustion.

original photo credit: terren in Virginia via photopin cc
photo credit: terren in Virginia via photopin cc

Why not give it a break? Slow down the pace. Spend some time with someone you love—or with someone who needs your love. Still your anxious thoughts. Reflect on God’s goodness. Express gratitude for the multitude of overlooked blessings that came your way in 2013.

Thanksgiving is a form of much needed rest and without such times of refreshment we will continue to exhaust our souls to the point of death. It is yet another reason that Thanksgiving Day shopping is a bad idea. If only for this one day, let’s ignore the line of bread crumbs leading to the marketplace.

banner photo credit: Calgary Reviews via photopin cc